Chest Injuries After a Car Accident

If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident in Atlanta, there’s a good chance that you’ve suffered some type of trauma to the chest. If someone else is at least partly responsible for your accident, you might be entitled to compensation. Call the experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys at Hasner Law to discuss your case and find out how we might be able to help you maximize your financial recovery.

We know that you probably have a lot of questions. That’s exactly why our Fulton County law firm offers a free consultation for accident victims. Contact our accomplished team today to schedule yours and learn more.

Are Chest Injuries Common After a Car Accident?

doctor doing a medical diagnosis in DeKalb County

Yes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accident victims are extremely likely to sustain a chest injury in a crash. Statistics show that 80 percent of all crash victims experience trauma to the head and/or chest. So, for every five car accident victims, four will suffer a chest or head injury. 

For perspective, there were 58,581 car accidents reported in Atlanta and Fulton County in 2017. Based on those numbers, there were roughly 46,864 car accident-related chest injuries that year. That’s 128 chest injuries every single day.

Severe Car Accident Chest Injuries Are Among the Most Deadly

Chest injuries aren’t just common after an auto accident. They are also particularly catastrophic. Research shows that chest injuries are responsible for roughly 35 percent of all trauma-related deaths in the United States. 

Blunt chest injuries tend to be much more devastating than penetrating injuries,  accounting for between 20 and 25 percent of these deaths.

Types of Chest Injuries Commonly Caused by Atlanta Car Accidents

The term “chest injury” does not refer to one specific type of injury. Rather, it refers to several different types of trauma that affect the chest. There are two ways to categorize chest injuries – blunt force trauma and penetrating trauma. Blunt force trauma is most common and occurs as a result of a high-velocity impact. In other words, something hits, applies pressure to, or makes contact with your chest. Penetrating trauma means that your chest wall breached, typically by a foreign object or projectile. 

At Hasner Law, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers represent clients who, after being involved in a collision, sustained chest injuries that include:

Broken Ribs

Your ribcage, which protects your thoracic cavity, is made up of 12 different bones. It’s not uncommon for one or more of these bones to fracture or break due to the trauma of a car accident. Statistically speaking, fractures usually affect the ribs toward the bottom of the ribcage more frequently than those near the top. This is due to the fact that the ribs higher in the chest are secured by the collarbone and shoulder blades, while the bones lower in the chest are more flexible.

Fractured ribs can be incredibly painful and make it very difficult to breathe. If a rib is fully broken, it can potentially do extensive harm to the internal organs the ribcage is supposed to protect. Broken ribs can tear tissue, puncture organs, and cause massive internal bleeding.

Internal Organ Damage

Trauma to the chest is sometimes so violent that it causes internal injuries, including damage to the organs – including the liver, spleen, heart, and lungs. Damage to the organs may or may not be caused by fractured ribs.

Internal Bleeding

Just because you don’t see an injury doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Blunt force trauma to the chest can cause massive internal bleeding, which, if not treated right away, can be fatal.

Ruptured Diaphragm

There’s a muscle that sits just below the ribcage – the diaphragm. Without the diaphragm, we wouldn’t be able to inflate our lungs. In a car accident, the diaphragm is susceptible to injury, especially when you suffer blunt force trauma to the chest. The muscle can tear or rip, resulting in severe respiratory distress.

Puncture Wounds

Blunt force trauma isn’t the only threat to your chest if you’re involved in a collision. When a crash is particularly violent, it’s not uncommon for debris, pieces of the vehicle, and other objects to fly through the air. These projectiles can hit and puncture the chest wall, potentially damaging the tissue, arteries, or organs inside. Projectiles should not be removed from the chest until evaluated by a medical professional.

Soft Tissue Injury

The chest is made up of an intricate system of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and tissue. In a car accident, it’s not uncommon for these tissues to tense up. However, the sudden tension can cause the muscles to strain and tissue to overextend or twist and move in unusual ways. This can lead to painful and debilitating soft tissue injuries.

Note that severe trauma to the chest can also occur in addition to or contribute to spinal cord damage.

Car Accident Chest Injury Risk Factors

Doctor using a smart phone in hospital.

Everyone is susceptible to chest trauma if they’re involved in a car accident. However, there are certain factors that increase the likelihood of sustaining a chest injury.

Age

The likelihood of suffering a chest injury increases with age. The younger we are, the stronger and more flexible our bones are. As we age, our bones – including our ribs – can become rigid and brittle. Additionally, reduced muscle tone and strength can make us susceptible to chest injuries.

Location in the Vehicle

Studies show that where you’re sitting in a vehicle when an accident occurs can influence the likelihood of sustaining a chest injury. Drivers and front-seat passengers are more likely to suffer chest injuries than rear-seat passengers. In fact, front-seat passengers are most vulnerable.

Type of Collision

Car accidents can fall into one of several different categories, based on the type of impact. Research suggests that the likelihood of sustaining a chest injury is associated with the type of collision that you’re involved in. Chest injuries are most commonly reported in victims of frontal collisions, rollover accidents, and side-impact accidents. Rear-end collisions are more often associated with neck and back injuries, such as whiplash.

What Causes Chest Injuries in a Car Accident?

Chest injuries are often caused by:

  • The force of a seatbelt or restraint tightening during a collision
  • The force of airbags deploying in a crash
  • Impact with the dashboard, steering wheel, door, or roof of a car
  • Projectiles from a defective airbag, objects, or damaged parts of a car, and
  • Blunt force trauma upon impact after being ejected from a vehicle.

Note that while airbags and seat belt injuries do occur, these are still incredibly important safety devices. The benefits of these devices outweigh the risks. You are much more likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries in a crash if you are not wearing a seatbelt or if the airbags fail to deploy.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Chest Injury?

Sometimes the symptoms of a chest injury are apparent right away. Other times, it could take a few hours or days to really notice that something is wrong. Either way, it is important to seek medical attention if you experience:

  • Chest pain, especially if it gets worse when you breathe, talk, laugh, sneeze, or move your arms
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fail chest, which means that your chest wall moves unevenly, or
  • Redness, swelling, or bruising.

The best thing to do is to seek medical attention immediately after your car accident. That way, a doctor can perform a full evaluation and order diagnostic tests if they suspect that you might have sustained a chest injury. Early diagnosis can help to prevent your injury from getting worse or leading to potentially life-threatening complications.

Can I Get Compensation For My Car Accident Chest Injuries?

A court gavel on 100 bills - legal concept

Yes, as long as you are allocated less than 50 percent of the blame for the crash and your injuries. If you didn’t contribute to your crash at all, there would be no limit on your financial recovery. If you are allocated some of the blame, your damages would be reduced to reflect your role in the accident. 

When you suffer a chest injury, you can potentially receive damages to compensate for:

  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery
  • Medical devices
  • Medical equipment
  • Rehabilitation
  • Medication
  • Other medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Lost income and wages
  • Disability, and more

If someone you love has died as a result of chest injuries sustained in a car accident in Atlanta, you might be entitled to compensation. Our team can help you navigate a wrongful death claim against the party (or parties) responsible for your tragic loss.

Contact Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers For Help With Your Chest Injury Case

You will have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit or injury claim if you’ve recently suffered a chest injury in a car accident in Atlanta, GA. So, do not hesitate to reach out to the experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Hasner Law for immediate legal assistance. We will help you fight to get the money you need and deserve. Call our Atlanta law office to arrange a free consultation to learn more today.